Permission to touch your body does not mean permission to violate it — sexual assaults during a massage are unacceptable, and you can hold individuals and businesses legally accountable.
Many depend on massage therapy services not only for relaxation and enjoyment but also for muscular rehabilitation. Massage therapy involves an element of trust since services are often given by a stranger. Unfortunately, this kind of private environment makes it incredibly easy for perpetrators to commit their crimes.
If you feel you have been sexually assaulted, violated, molested, or experienced unwelcome or inappropriate touching during a massage, this page is intended to help you understand your options moving forward.
If you need to speak with a lawyer about your situation, call the San Diego office of Jessica Pride directly at 619-516-8166, or schedule a free, fully confidential consultation online. Our staff is here to support your needs both legally and emotionally during this difficult time.
Yes, if you have been assaulted or injured at a massage parlor, you may be able to bring a lawsuit. You could potentially file a claim against individual employees, the owner/manager, or the business depending on what occurred. Examples of sexually inappropriate touching you could file suit over include:
When a massage therapist inappropriately touches a client, it is a criminal offense. A therapeutic massage should never involve contact with the genitals, specifically a client’s vagina, penis, or testicles. When the massage therapist initiates this, it is considered abuse. If a client requests it, it may be deemed prostitution.
Every part of a massage is outlined with rules of conduct. If you experienced inappropriate touching during a massage or think you might have, our staff of caring professionals can help determine whether these rules were breached. Reach out to us online or by calling (619) 415-8822 to discuss your options in a safe, supportive environment.
There is no one number or range that accurately describes what your case may be worth during negotiations or at trial. This is because each case is decided on its unique details, including the cost of your injuries, losses, and pain and suffering.
While criminal charges are decided by the police and prosecutors, if you were sexually assaulted during a massage, you have the option of taking the matter to civil court with a personal injury attorney like Jessica Pride. Our trained, experienced, and compassionate team at The Pride Law Firm can help you determine if your case meets the criteria for:
Depending on the circumstances of your incident, you can expect to hold the perpetrator liable for numerous offenses, and seek compensation for your injuries and losses.
By choosing to pursue justice for yourself, you could help save others by removing predators from jobs in massage parlors or spas. By seeking the compensation you deserve, you help incentivize businesses to better protect their clients with more thorough background checks, and stronger response protocols when someone reports abuse.
Yes, you can sue the Massage Envy company or any other large or national chains such as Hand and Stone or Elements Massage.
Sexual assault in massage has gained media attention in recent years, as with the hundreds of lawsuits that were filed against Massage Envy with accusations that included women being:
Over 180 accusers filed complaints among the nearly 1,200 Massage Envy locations nationwide. Women who reported abuse were ignored by franchise managers, enabling more abuse toward other massage clients. In such instances, an assault survivor may have the right to sue both the individual who assaulted them and the business that helped cover up or facilitate ongoing abuse.
It is best to report the incident right away to preserve evidence and notify authorities to act. Once you terminate the session and get to a safe location, here are important steps you should take:
Having an attorney present throughout the reporting process helps protect your rights and allows you to make fully informed decisions. Your lawyer can also act on your behalf, handling communications with the perpetrator so you need not be re-traumatized. Let us take on the work of building your case while you focus on self-care in peace.
We understand that it may be difficult for some survivors to discuss what happened to them. Part of our firm’s role is to communicate with other parties on your behalf so you don’t have to relive the incident every single time.
Sexual assault is an injury against your person, and you have the right to sue a massage therapist or business if you were harmed. If your personal boundaries have been violated, or you have been verbally or sexually abused, you have rights under the law. The compassionate advocates with Jessica Pride and The Pride Law Firm are here to help.
Our staff uses trauma-informed care when interacting with clients, and we help educate other legal professionals on the intricacies of sexual assault litigation. We have represented multiple survivors in high-profile cases involving abuse by medical professionals, youth leaders, dentists, clergy and others, including massage therapists. If you feel your requests for privacy, boundaries, or respect were ignored during a massage, you are advised to speak with a sexual assault attorney to discuss your legal options.
Jessica Pride understands the devastation and emotional ramifications of sexual assault. She is not only a legal advocate who fights passionately on behalf of her clients, she is a trusted friend and confidant. If you have been abused at the hands of a massage therapist or any sexual perpetrator, we are with you and for you. Please contact The Pride Law Firm today at 619-516-8166 to receive a free, private consultation. We will answer your questions anonymously and without obligation, and all information is held in the strictest of confidence.
Sexual assaults are criminal acts that can happen at almost any time, including during various types of massage. The type of massage you chose in no way excuses a violation of any kind. That being said, when speaking to an attorney, it helps to understand what type of massage you received.
Common types of massages available at spas and physical therapy centers include:
Asking questions about what you can expect from the session before it begins can help you understand when a massage therapist is crossing a personal or professional boundary.
Informed consent is a principle derived from medical ethics. It says patients must have sufficient information and understanding before making decisions about their care. Informed consent during a massage refers to your legal right to determine the type of services you receive. It also addresses the massage therapist’s ethical obligation to include you in the process.
Getting a massage requires informed consent. This means you must agree to the treatment voluntarily without being coerced through fraud, force, or deceit. It’s also understood that you can withdraw your consent at any time during your treatment. This is known as dynamic consent, and means you can change your mind at any point.
A power differential describes the power contrast between an authority figure or professional, and a person under their care or instruction. Institutional sexual abuse is sexual misbehavior linked to, and often shielded by, powerful institutions like churches, schools, workplaces, rehab facilities, and prisons. It also applies in hospitals, other healthcare institutions like mental health facilities, as well as therapeutic massage businesses and corporations.
A key feature of institutional abuse is the power differential involved.
There is a power differential in massage therapy. The relationship between a massage therapist and a client is particularly fragile since the client is physically exposed. This is also true with doctors, dentists or dental assistants, plastic surgeons, and any other practitioner in a similar capacity. For this reason, a massage therapist is held to exceptionally high standards for professionalism and ethical behavior. They are responsible for protecting the person under their care. A violation of that duty may be grounds for a lawsuit.
Each state has a deadline for bringing sexual assault cases, known as a “statute of limitations.” In California, where The Pride Law Firm is located, those deadlines have been expanded to allow most adult victims of sexual abuse up to 10 years to file a personal injury lawsuit. Those limitations have also been recently expanded for child survivors of sexual abuse and assault.
The reasons for these deadlines are to ensure cases are brought while evidence and witness memories are still fresh. While you still deserve your opportunity to seek justice no matter how much time has passed, the sooner a claim is filed, the stronger your case will likely be. Additionally, the sooner your case is resolved, the sooner you may be able to find closure, and stop a dangerous predator from harming others.
We understand the emotional state you may be in after enduring such a traumatic experience. We are here to address your legal needs as well as your emotional ones. Contact us to schedule a confidential consultation by calling 619-516-8166.